Getting Educated About Melanoma
When first diagnosed, it’s normal to want to learn as much as possible about melanoma, your diagnosis, treatment options, and ongoing research. Learning more about your condition can empower you to ask more questions, make the most of your interactions with your care team, and can help guide your decision making. Remember - while it’s a good idea to educate yourself about your diagnosis, how much you wish to research is up to you.
But where do you start and what sources of information can you trust?
Is the article current?
The health information and medical standards of care are constantly changing to reflect new research and this is especially true for melanoma. In fact, while there were only two FDA approved treatments for melanoma prior to 2011, more than a dozen exist today. As you conduct your research, be on the lookout for when an article was published and when it was last reviewed or updated. Carefully consider this information to determine if it is still relevant. If you have questions about specific articles, speak to your doctor or make a post on MRA’s online discussion community, the Melanoma > Exchange.
Who published the article?
Content from leading cancer organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) and the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) are excellent sources of information that is vetted by medical experts and updated regularly.
For melanoma-specific information, non-profit organizations like the Melanoma Research Alliance (CureMelanoma.org) often provide more detailed, and more specific information related to a melanoma diagnosis. While other websites, blogs, and forums may have good information – you should verify it with a more reputable source.
Who authored or reviewed the article?
Sources of quality health information will usually include information about the author and/or the people responsible for reviewing content. For example, all content on MRA’s CureMelanoma.org website is reviewed by our Chief Science Officer and/or our Scientific Program Director.
Keep in mind: Online research can be an incredible tool to give you confidence, perspective, and to help form questions, but it does not replace the advice and guidance of your doctor. Some people may find the prospect of online research overwhelming or would rather not know – this is fine! There is no right or wrong way to approach learning more about your condition.
Were you or a loved one just diagnosed with melanoma? We have the resources to help.